the high kind of medium

Seamus turned six yesterday. I have a summer birthday too, and always found it kind of a letdown to not be in school with my friends for my big day. So I was determined to make his day special. I prepared him exactly what he requested for breakfast– scrambled egg whites, ham, and a Thomas’ corn-muffin-flavored Toast-R-Cake. (We can go through a pack of those a day in our house.) Then he opened two presents. Then, off to day camp he went, where his counselors presented him with a cake at lunchtime, and all the Cayugas sang to him while he stood on the table. After camp, we were off to the candy store and an excellent magic show which made lots of Harry Potter-esque references without actual copyright infringement. Then we went out to dinner and had ice cream. Then we came home and he got ready for bed. Now THAT, I thought to myself, was one cool birthday. 

I helped Seamus rinse off his toothbrush. “Wasn’t that an amazing day?” I asked him. 

He said nothing.

“Did you have an awesome birthday, Shea?” I prompted.

“Yes,” he murmured, in a dead-eyed, zombie, totally overstimulated and overtired sort of way.

Seamus is an under-reactor in the extreme, so I knew he wasn’t going to turn cartwheels, but the thing about my now not-so-little boy is that it is sometimes hard to tell if he is enjoying himself, or not. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get more excitement out of him. But in the last six years, I have often forgotten that his state of calm content is his version of perfectly happy, and that he doesn’t really need much to get there. In planning his birthday day, I had probably gone far beyond what was required– or even desired.

This morning, I cut up some peaches that were going bad anyway, threw them in the blender with some orange juice and yogurt, and made a smoothie. I poured Seamus a big glass, and he finished every drop.

“Fanks, Mommy, dat was delicious,” he said politely.

Finally! The approbation I had sought.

“You really liked it?” I said, fishing for more.

“I did,” Seamus nodded. “I would say it was the high kind of medium.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen July 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Your Seamus posts are always my favorite. What a sweetie!


Amy S. July 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Cute! My little guy turned 5 yesterday….and had strep throat 🙁


Sheila July 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I hate to tell you but it doesn't improve with age. Your Seamus sounds like my 33 year old husband. You could set off fireworks and scream and shout his name in front of thousands for his birthday and all he would do is quietly say thanks. Drives me nuts every holiday involving any kind of gift giving! At least you understand that's how he is.


Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Watch this:

Then ask yourselves, who you would rather have piloting that vehicle under those circumstances-Seamus, or his mom?

The world needs more Seamuses. A casual perusal of the internet tells us we've got way plenty of the other kind.

I think it's unfortunate that our society has gotten so stimulus/response oriented that being self-posessed is considered weird.


Kelly C. July 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Amy, I look forward to your posts. My sons are 23 and 16, and I miss their "littleness" so much. I am living a life with little kids vicariously, through you. Seamus' comments are always good for a chuckle.

I think Anonymous' comment was a little harsh (I'm sure it wasn't meant that way). I didn't feel you were saying Seamus was weird.


Courtney July 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Shelia, your husband is the same as mine! He is 34 and every year, I ask him what he wants to do, something with the guys, something else with the fam, how fun, a BIRTHDAY! Well, every year it's the same answer – whatever we do will be fine. COME ON, GIVE ME SOMETHING! And he does enjoy himself, he just isn't the ecstatic-jump-up-and-down sort of person. I'm used to it now, he brings a calm and centered-ness to my crazy working-mom life! Seamus will grow into a calm and centered adult!


Amy Wilson July 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Kelly C, I'm a little confused by Anonymous's comment as well. And the video link doesn't work, so if that was going to elucidate things… I'm out of luck there.

But I think Anonymous is saying being "self-possessed" is a good thing– calm and confident– not a bad thing (as in narcissistic). And that we could use more people like that. I wholeheartedly agree.

But I don't think, as Anonymous is (I think) hinting, that I'm the total opposite of that. I have my calm and centered moments. But in this case, as has happened before, trying to give my children "the best" just meant I went to a lot more trouble than I should have.

Just in case it wasn't clear: Seamus isn't weird, he's awesome. An old soul, as reincarnationists might say.

Even though he's going to grow up to be a underreacting spouse like Sheila's, Courtney's, and mine.

It's cool.


Elizabeth July 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm

It took a while for me to get used to the fact that when my elder son was Seamus' age, if he had the facial expression of a 55-year-old accountant frozen mid-math problem, it meant that he was at the zenith of happiness. It was almost as if he were having such a good time in his brain that he forgot to communicate it to the rest of his body.


Anonymous July 31, 2010 at 4:58 am

Amy, that video link does work, but you have to copy and paste it into your address thingy.

I didn't mean to imply that you were the opposite of self-contained. Sorry if that's how it came off.

Anyway, thanks for clarifying. We are in agreement!


Kelly C. July 31, 2010 at 6:32 am

Elizabeth – your description of your son's "happy" face was priceless.

It is still amazing to me how children from the same two parents can be so radically different.


Leave a Comment